While the Miami Dolphins have not exactly had a MASH unit of injuries, getting players back on the field is the goal of the reprieve called the bye week in the NFL. Since the Dolphins lost defensive tackle Paul Soliai in week two for a game, two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake, cornerback Dimitri Patterson (missed 4 games), getting all of these guys back for their division game versus the Bills on Sunday will be critical.
The biggest thing that has hurt Miami this season according to head coach Joe Philbin has been giving up the "big, explosive, plays." Some of those plays have to do with the inability to cover the tight end. However, much of the season, the Dolphins have been rolling with a banged up secondary and having players such as Jimmy Wilson cover the slot since Nolan Carroll moved up to the starting corner back position has been rife with problems for a defense that prides itself on three and out stops.
The Miami defense statistically speaking finds itself at a crossroads this young season with an inability to stop small, quick elusive backs, (Jaquizz Rodgers and Darren Sproles) and now will face CJ Spiller who has given them problems in the past. It's going to be up to defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle to tailor a defensive game plan to the players strengths and not make the Dolphins linebackers (Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe) succeptible to that big play over the middle, espcially with a tight end up the seam.
Versus Buffalo, the Miami defense needs to not only get stops and sacks, but get turnovers. While the Dolphins have forced turnovers in every game: three versus Cleveland, one versus Indianapolis, one versus Atlanta (one on special teams), one versus the New Orleans, and one versus Baltimore; the team as a whole must force more game-changing and game deciding plays.
The motto this week for the Dolphins overall is must-win, but the mantra for the Dolphins defense must be whatever it takes to win this game even if it means getting the final stop to seal the victory. The Dolphins defense after five games is a tested bunch who have what it takes to be a playmaking defense that wants to be more than just bend but don't break. For defensive coach Kevin Coyle, he'd rather not hear about that term and hopefully Dolfans will witness a coming of age with this young defense this weekend at home.